By Brandy Dykhuizen and Brad Sun. Our Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while squeezing in a new review or two before it’s all over. Did we miss your favorite books this week? Well. This is where you need to be.
Words by Bryan Lee O’Malley.
Art by Leslie Hung; colors by Mickey Quinn.
Letters by Maré Odomo.
Created by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung.
BSun: Following the unexpected plot turn that closed out the first issue, Snotgirl #2 continues to steer the series towards a unique mashup of romantic comedy and murder mystery, but the jury’s still out on whether this bizarre pairing will prove to be effective. It does create a certain page-turning momentum, as tantalizing and sometimes contradictory clues about the night in question are sprinkled throughout like so many breadcrumbs, but it also makes it a lot harder to sympathize with our protagonist, Lottie. Just imagine how tough it would be to focus on Cher Horowitz’s romance with Josh in Clueless if she had accidentally killed Ambular in the first act.
Bryan Lee O’Malley’s characters have always been charmingly flawed and blockheaded, but Lottie’s self-absorption takes it to a whole other level. Scott Pilgrim may have killed some people, but they were mostly jerks and always ended up bursting into a video gamey pile of coins, not lying face down in a pool of their own blood. Even more crucially, O’Malley’s over-the-top narrative conceits work best when used as metaphors for his characters’ deepest hopes and fears. Scott Pilgrim’s evil exes were the physical embodiment of the peril and baggage that comes with starting a new relationship, and the time travel in Seconds highlighted heroine Katie’s doubts and regrets. But if there’s a connection between fashion blogging and manslaughter, I sure haven’t figured it out yet.
What does work without question is the stunning visual design by Leslie Hung, Mickey Quinn, and Maré Odomo. Their stylish and complex layouts continue to be a series highlight, combining text and image in unique and captivating ways. O’Malley’s humor and wit are also on point as we begin to grasp the depths of Lottie’s scatterbrained neuroses. Ultimately, Snotgirl #2’s charm and ambition outshine the series’ uneven start.
6.5 out of 10
Dept. H #5
Dark Horse Comics/$3.99
Story and Art by Matt Kindt.
Colors by Sharlene Kindt.
Letters by Marie Enger.
BD: Dept. H piles on the mystery in its fifth issue, introducing us to new creatures of the deep while hinting at the conspiracy Mia has suspected all along. Messages have become as garbled as underwater screams, with only fragments here and there bubbling to the surface. Matt and Sharlene Kindt pull us into the world surrounding the deep-sea research station, though it’s far more trippy than we’ve previously seen.
The murder mystery at hand seems no closer to being solved, and yet Mia and Raj must be gaining some kind of ground, as bizarre and terrifying obstacles have cropped up to intercede. A horde of sea spiders intercepts the path, unleashing their psychotropic venom into Mia, causing her to doubt her reality and chase after echoes. In one of the book’s most stunning pages, Mia peers into a cave, at a creation myth-sized sea turtle, which calmly returns her gaze beneath a crimson mountain of shell.
Between the floating false sound bites, and secret codes dispensed via video conference, the Kindts’ remind us to look past the protocol to absorb clues and communications from surprising sources. Never letting us get too close to the truth and ceaselessly throwing curve balls, Dept. H continues to be a creative, riveting and dazzlingly beautiful read.
8.5 out of 10
From earlier this week —
Agree? Disagree? What books are YOU reading this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.